OZ Cabbie December 2014
Horrific as the Sydney siege was, it was nearly as horrible to watch the sickening way our politicians and the media bled it for all it was worth. “We will survive this, we will survive this” NSW Premier Mike Baird proclaimed solemnly as if he and everyone in NSW or Australia was in mortal danger. Every other politician fronting a camera made similarly hyped up statements.
Victoria’s newly elected Premier Daniel Andrews declared that it was a “terrifying incident” and gravely assured Victorians that the gunman in Martin Place posed no known threat to the people of Victoria.
However, it wasn’t only our politicians who behaved badly, so did Uber. It too made headlines around the world when it was revealed on social media that it was charging surge pricing in the CBD as the siege unfolded. Full story in Uber’s vile business ethics were on full display during Sydney siege.
Yeah, Victoria, as widely predicted, has a new Labor government and the Victorian Taxi Families are tickled pink. Before the election the now Premier, Daniel Andrews, promised to set up a $4 million compensation fund for plate owners experiencing serious hardship following the previous government’s taxi reforms. The cream on the cake for the VTF would be to see the back of Taxi Commissioner Graeme Samuel. The TSC manager Marnie Williams has already given notice.
The new Minister for Public Transport is Jacinta Allan, formerly shadow minister for Regional Affairs. It will be interesting to see what she does about UberX.
Talking about Uber (am I obsessed with that mob?), a strange thing happened last week. Our famous UberX-driver-arresting vigilante, Russell Howarth, was allegedly hauled before a magistrate to face three AVOs, applied for by David Rohrsheim, Uber’s Australian Manager, its operational manager Glenn O’Sullivan and an unnamed UberX driver. Evidently they fear Russell might punch their lights out. Like Uber’s surge charging during the siege, the story of Russell’s citizen’s arrests of eight UberX drivers has also caught the attention of the world’s media. Russell has obviously rattled Uber a lot more than expected.
Following the lead of Victoria, on 12 December NSW introduced a 5% cap on non-cash payments of taxi fares. Other states and territories are expected to follow suit soon. While it’s great for our customers it’s rather painful for the smaller players competing with Cabcharge. What I find strange is that the cap doesn’t also apply to hire cars. Why is that?
The so called NSW Taxi Drivers’ Association held it’s Annual General Meeting last week. Its ebullient president of many years, Anne Turner, was re-elected unopposed. A delicious BBQ and drinks followed the meeting, however, the highlight, a reliable source tells me, was the arrival of NSW Taxi Council CEO Roy Wakelin-King, who addressed the crowd of 20 or so.
Well folks, that’s all from OZ Cabbie for 2014. It has certainly been a challenging year of reform and disruption for the taxi industry, so much so that people who claim to represent the rank and file have crawled into bed with the industry mafia.
Thank you for reading OZ Cabbie. Allow me to suggest that you start doing so on our website ozcabbie.com as ‘disruptive technologies’ make the future of the printed version somewhat unpredictable.
I wish you all a prosperous and safe season, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Please remember that there is no OZ Cabbie in January.